A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this game.
Based on a popular animated film franchise, this is a fantasy game that has you performing light missions for various people. There are no positive or negative messages in this game.
Positive Role Models
You play as two characters in this game: Scribbler, a young scholar who can't remember his past, and Patch, a unique breed of dragon referred to as a "Chimeragon." The duo travels together to battle foes, explore new lands, and help unravel a mystery. They're mostly positive protagonists and they're fighting against evil, but they do use their abilities and powers for combat.
Ease of Play
Using a top-down perspective, you'll move around, solve environmental puzzles, open chests, and fight against enemies. The controls are easy to pick up, while a map shows where you need to go to complete the objective.
Violence & Scariness
While fantasy-based and cartoon-like, a good portion of the game is battling against human or dragon-based enemies who want to stop you in your path. The humans can use swords and explosives to attack you, and as Scribbler, you'll also master combat and upgrade weapons to take on tougher enemies. There's no blood or gore shown, and enemies simply disappear when defeated.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents should know that Dreamworks Dragons Dawn of New Riders is an action adventure game for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PCs. The game's based on the popular Dragons animated movies from DreamWorks (and is being launched at the same time as the feature film, How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World). There's combat in the game, as Scribbler (a human) and Patch (his hybrid dragon) use weapons and special powers, respectively, to defeat enemies. But there's no blood or gore shown in the game, because enemies disappear when defeated. Otherwise, there's no inappropriate content in the game.
Is It Any Good?
While the action adventure game is fun, there isn't really a lot of depth or original gameplay in this game. Dreamworks Dragons Dawn Of New Riders is easy to pickup and play with simple mechanics like exploring, combat, and some puzzle-solving. For kids who like DreamWorks Dragons movies, they'll enjoy the familiar characters and locations, and they'll welcome the new additions to the universe. The graphics are decent, with some nice special effects, too, including transparent rainbows in front of misty waterfalls and subterranean dungeons lit by colorful, glowing artifacts. The missions are somewhat varied and there a few different areas to unlock and explore. There are some light role-playing game (RPG) elements, like buying and selling items, and upgrading skills. Scribbler and Patch work well together, such as Patch freezing enemies with its breath, so Scrribber can better hit the slow-moving enemies with his sword.
But there are some shortcomings: Almost all the dialogue is text-based, and there's a lot to move through to get to the action, so don't expect younger kids to read much of it. Too bad the developers didn't have voice actors to read the lines, and instead decided to include some odd grunts and noises (perhaps this decision was to make it easily converted to other languages). Ironically, for a game that includes dragons, much of the action takes place on the ground. And when you do take to the skies, the controls aren't as smooth as they are for the rest of the game. Plus, the game is single-player only, and without random map or mission generation, there's little reason to play a second time around once you've beaten it. Overall, Dreamworks Dragons Dawn Of New Riders is a good but not a great game -- especially for younger players and those who love the movies its based upon.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.